Looking4Truth calls on the power of prayer.

Seems the comment from Allan (Moses) about how he prays for his wife who is suffering from lymphoma has motivated Looking4Truth to rally the prayer warriors:

Brothers and sisters in Christ. I have a prayer request for you. I have been engaged in some online evangelism with a group of atheists who are very resiatant to the Gospel. After two weeks of some rather intense and interesting debate, there just may be an opening here for a mighty act of our Savior Jesus. We finally got around to the topic of prayer (does it work), and one of the members admitted that he does pray for his wife, who has lymphoma, even though he doesn’t believe his prayers do anything. Here is the link if you’re interested: Heads up, as you can tell by the title of his website, this group has no problem with blasphemy.
Today is the Day of Pentecost, when we celebrate the day Jesus sent the comforter to us, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think I have the gift of healing, but I would imagine some of you do. Regardless, would you please pray for this man’s wife? He calls himself (interestingly enough) Moses, or AWJ. I don’t know his wife’s name. I can only imagine what kind of testimony this couple would have should God choose to miraculously heal her. May God glorify himself. In our Lord’s precious name.

Eight or so people have taken up the challenge with a couple expanding their prayers to include all of us so this should be interesting. The sentiment is nice enough, and I’m not trying to make fun of them with this entry, but it seems to me that this isn’t likely to convince anyone.

Assume for the moment that the lymphoma does clear up, how are we to judge whether or not prayer had anything to do with it? If it’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Allan doesn’t specify) then with proper treatment 85% of cases can be cured, non-Hodgkin’s is a little more foggy, but is still curable. Unless she’s spontaneously cured of the cancer overnight, an event even L4T has admitted is unlikely, how would we determine the difference between God’s will and doctor’s skill?

It goes without saying that it’s my hope Allan’s wife is restored to health as quickly as possible and I hope he’ll keep us informed of her progress. If nothing else perhaps it’ll make him feel better that there are some more folks out there praying along with him.

62 thoughts on “Looking4Truth calls on the power of prayer.

  1. That is a very good question regarding how we are to judge what effected a cure in such a case.  And the point is that we often do not know what is responsible for cure.  Often we credit the doctors and medical care when there is a successful outcome.  When medical care does not bring healing, we generally accept it and don’t expect the professionals to be God.  It’s a matter of where we put our faith and attention.  I think we miss a lot.

    I would be glad to hear that the lymphoma disappears, and wouldn’t worry too much about whether prayer or the supernatural had anything to do with it.  At the same time, I would not discount effects from those sources.

    Awhile back there was an article about prayer having bad effects on the subject of the prayers.  Most references to the article were attempts to discount prayer as useless, and it got me thinking about whether I would publicly declare it if I had a serious illness.  I would not.  And the reason is that I would not want knowledge of my illness in the minds of many people, including strangers and people who would pray for me.  I do not doubt that prayer and other psychological/spiritual forces are effective, and “effective” does not always mean for the better.

  2. Les: … motivated Looking4Truth to rally the prayer warriors:

    I had a quick peak at that site.
    I notice they speak in a sort ethereal, not of this world, language that I, not having been brought up in such a household/religion/way of thinking, find weird.
    Don’t get me wrong; nice sentiments and all that, and I sure hope Allan’s wife gets better but, definitely weird.
    It sounds Very similar to the Muslims with their ‘peace be upon him’ stuff. Weird.
    I suppose there’s a special booklet available to explain the talk Talk.
    No. No. No. No. I don’t want a copy. LOL
    I must admit, L4T’s spiel was cool.
    He’s convinced he’s doing Sky-daddy’s work. Poor fool. wink

  3. Zhyndra: “it got me thinking about whether I would publicly declare it if I had a serious illness.  I would not.”

    I dunno about ‘declaring’ it but I would talk about it just like anything else.  If someone wants to pray, it might make them feel better, which is fine.

    Assuming L4T will read this sooner or later:

    L4T, you brave soul, evangelizing a group of atheists.  Wait – what is a group of atheists?  There’s a herd of sheep (that’s your church), a pride of lions, a murder of crows… how about “a reason of atheists”?

    We’ll be a lot more impressed when God heals an amputee.  Go on… tell us about how you read a book by a missionary and they saw it happen to someone whose leg had been bitten off by a crocodile, and the whole village was converted.

  4. People always claim prayer worked in cases where somebody is cured of something that can’t really be seen in the first place and there is no way of determining if it would have healed naturally on its own.
        I’ll believe prayer actually works the first time a group of people pray for a missing limb to be restored and it actually grows back.
        I have a feeling a group of 1 billion christians, muslims, hindus, or (insert religion here) praying non-stop for a week couldn’t get that limb to grow back again.
        For what it’s worth…..I think I would adopt the religion of whatever group succeeded on the spot.
        I want a confirmed missing limb though. Don’t parade out a guy with one arm and a mysterious lump down one side of the body under his shirt. I want somebody on national television, naked, and inspected by several independent medical professionals.
        If it does happen, I hope it’s one of the eastern religions. I need an excuse to wear a cool robe and do kung-fu all day.

  5. Darn….decrepitoldfool beat me to that! I should have read all the posts better.
        Darn you old guy!

  6. All the same it’s a wonderful sentiment. I can’t say I’ll pray, but if the call’s going out for public support, AWJ has mine (although I’m a student – can’t offer anything financial raspberry)

  7. Les – How did L4T manufacture that big black hole between the top and bottom halves of his post?
    Is that where our prayers get sucked into? LOL
    Or is it just my PC that’s doing it?

  8. “A reason of atheists!”  I love it!  Larkish exulting, DoF!

    I agree that believing in the power of prayer is not usually harmful (unless it means abandoning action in the real world), and often useful, at least for those who pray and those who know they’re being prayed for.

    I have been engaged in some online evangelism with a group of atheists who are very resiatant to the Gospel.

    Resistent to the Gospel?  No, open to reason.  Typical Christian casting of the debate in black and white religious terms:  we have the truth, and atheists are resistent to the truth.

  9. I have to agree with zilch on this one. I’ve seen what happens when men and women abandon science in search of a “savior”. Case in point, my sister. Before she passed away in 1997 she was a diabetic with cystic fibrosis and a host of other ailments I’m not really old enough to remember. What I DO remember, however, was hearing tales of a prayer group which haunted the floors of Cook’s Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas telling children that their illness was simply god punishing them for their sins and that he would gladly heal them if they were truly faithful. I watched my sister struggle with the notion for sometime before she realized it was total bullshit. Another example was a little girl(name witheld out of respect for the dead) at the same hospital who needed a transplant desperately. Well, her church group had been advised that the family’s insurance company would not cover the expense of the surgery if they were to collect money on her behalf, but they believed that God would assist them and went ahead with their fundraiser anyway. They raised a petty $2,500 before giving up and the little girl never recieved her transplant and passed away three months later. What truly upsets me about the entire situation is the fact that the church paid for an entire renovation of its main hall the month following her passing, a renovation which cost the church almost $20,000 more than the cost of the surgery the little girl required. Jesus, now I’m pissed.

  10. LuckyJohn, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. Do you mean here or over at the site I linked to? I double checked this entry in both Firefox and IE and I don’t see a big hole. grin

  11. can tell by the title of his website, this group has no problem with blasphemy.

    Sorry, Les. On the page we’re on now there is a big gap between the quoted line above and the quoted line below.
    I’m using IExplorer and I’m on Broadband as opposed to dial-up if that has any bearing and, I’m fairly computer illiterate.
    If I put the slider thingy on the right of this page in the middle, the gap is to about 1” from the top till I see “problem with blasphemy”.


  12. Regarding “The Gap” – I’m on dialup, and The Gap only occurs when the window isn’t maximized.  Like Moses parting the Red Sea, “Restoring Down” the page causes The Gap, and playing with the window size increases The Gap exponentially. Maximizing the page closes The Gap (especially if I sacrifice an unblemished goat, and sprinkle the tips of my ears and my big toe with its blood).  Don’t know if that helps you isolate the problem or not, Les.

    As for being “resistant to the Gospel”, after many, many years of having it crammed down my throat, I discovered I was ALLERGIC to it.  Once I stopped ingesting it, all symptoms disappeared!  Funny what TRUTH can do for you.

    And blasphemy?  Folks, to paraphrase Charles Montgomery Burns, there has been a *marked* decline in both the quantity AND quality of your blasphemin’. 

    Get on the stick, willya?  tongue wink

  13. 1.  Um … which part of “stupid,” “evil,” “bastard” is supposed to demonstrate that someone has “no problem with blasphemy”?  I mean, “stupidatheistbastard” or “stupidevilblasphemer” or “jesussucksevilbastard” or something, perhaps. 

    Maybe I’ve just been desensitized hanging around here.

    I’ll also comment I’m uncomfortable with the idea of “May God glorify himself.”  God hardly needs to do such a thing.  Heck, according to the Lord’s Prayer (Extended Version), the Kingdom, Power and Glory are already His.

    I offer up intercessory prayers on occasion (like the Old Lady & the Enema joke, “it can’t hurt!”), but I don’t do so with an expectation that the result will be what I want, or even perceptible.  There’s at least some teaching that prayer’s main effect is on the pray-ers themselves—focusing their thoughts and concerns on those who are in need (and, presumably, then doing more about it than just pray-and-forget).

  14. ***Dave sez: There’s at least some teaching that prayer’s main effect is on the pray-ers themselves—focusing their thoughts and concerns on those who are in need (and, presumably, then doing more about it than just pray-and-forget).

    ***Dave, back when I was a True Believer, I read something that basically went along the lines of “prayer is for *us*, not God”.

    In other words, if God is omnipotent, he doesn’t need folks to fill him in on what they want or need or worry about, etc. But when folks pray, they clarify certain things to and for *themselves*. According to the writer, it’s about changing *us*, rather than some supernatural being changing things for us. 

    That made a lot more sense to me at the time than the fundie hogwash I had been indoctrinated with.

    And, just wanna add, as has been expressed by others here, I also hope Allan’s wife recovers quickly.  Suffering sucks, no matter *what* you believe.

  15. As an athiest, I’ve always been uncomfortable whenever I hear that somebody is praying for me.  I used to think “No thanks.”  I don’t need to be prayed for.  yadda yadda. 

    Even after Beau Tochs and ***Dave’s comments about how praying is more for the pray-er and not the pray-ee, I still find myself uncomfortable with the thought. 

    Any suggestions?

  16. I get the same big blank block between “no problem with blasphemy” and the SEB link and I am on high speed at the office, just for interest sake.
      I hope that things go well for Allan also.  my 13 yr old daughter has Hodgkins.  Diagnosed as stage 4 about 6 weeks ago they had her in Chemotherapy in 6 days, nasty stuff. 
      My father is a born again “True Believer” and I humour him regarding prayer etc. simply because being atagonistic doesn’t help. 
      I have sat through the meetings and spoken with the oncolgy team.  I am confident my daughter has a competant team of profesionals doing the best they can.  What more can one ask.
        A positive outlook is very important to the success of a patient in these cases.  my frustration comes from the “blind faith” some family memebers have the “GOD” will make it right.  Instead I hae done my research, asked the important questions and explained to my daughter straight out with no B.S. what the deal is and the chances are.  I still allow the rest of the family to provide her with their propaganda someday she must decide for herself.
      It comes down to are you a half full or half empty glass person in the end I think.  If Mr.Death were around he’d probably attest I am an eternal optimist.

  17. I forgot to mention that I also hope Allan’s wife, and Lordklegg’s daughter both come through things ok.  You are both in my thoughts.

    Lordklegg, I am an eternal optimist as well.  I admire and respect how you are handling your daughter and her situation.  When I have kids, I hope to have the courage and honesty with them that you do with yours.

  18. Caught red-handed!
    Backing off from posting (temporarily) to let God work, lest my pride start thinking I’m responsible for anyone’s salvation. Pride is insideous.
      Re: the blasphemy comment. Dave is correct in pointing out that this blog’s title alone is not blasphemous, despite the word referring to a child born out of wedlock. That was just my heads-up to any sensitive Christians who might get easily offended by some of what they read here. You gotta admit, there’s some spicey language thrown around from time to time here at SEB. Nothing personal. Your choice of words to express yourself are none of my business.
      Still praying for Allan (Moses) and his wife, regardless of who would benefit from the prayer (the one doing the praying, the object of the prayer, etc.)
    While God does His thing, I’ll be engrossed in the Stanley Cup finals. How good is it when your team makes it that far, and you’ve got tickets to any remaining home games? I’m a lucky man.
    Cheers y’all,

  19. Jeffercine – I used to bristle when people would tell me they’d pray for me. I took it to be rather presumptious. But I learned to appreciate those who were sincere. They think they can help me by going to their god on my behalf—that comes from a good place when it is genuine. On the other hand, “I’ll pray for you” is often said the same way “How are you?” is often asked… where the first is not a genuine statement and the second is not a genuine question.


    As for the call to prayer, if that were me and my spouse, I would be offended—and not so much for the prayers but for the “Let’s make this a test case to see if we can convert a reason of Atheists!!!” attitude. It just seems like yet another True Believer hijacking a family’s circumstances for their own egotistical gain (There’s far more going on there than just a prayer for someone’s good health.)


    Lordklegg, Moses, all the best to your families.

  20. jeffercine:  If you don’t want people praying for you, be careful not to share things with those who would consider those things something to pray about.

    For me, it’s the more critical things I would take care not to share.  As a believer in the power of the mind, I’d be especially careful about who I’d tell if I had a serious medical condition.  I would not only not tell many religious (as in God) folk, but I wouldn’t be telling those whose god is science.  If an atheist with strong faith in standard medical science heard of a case where a doctor declared that the patient had a terminal illness, and gave statistical percentages regarding survival, that believer would likely feel certain that the patient would die.  After all, the diagnosis came from a scientifically inclined, trained professional.  Too much of this attitude, in my opinion, effects the patient and obscures positive possibilities.  Worse, it can speed the manifestation of the “inevitable” prophecy.

  21. Lordklegg, the fourteen-year-old sister of a girlfriend of mine had Hodgkins.  She went through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and was given only a fifty-fifty chance.  She came through with flying colors, and perfect health, and is still doing great.

    This was twenty-five years ago, and things have improved greatly since then.  So while nothing is ever certain, I think, and hope, your daughter will be fine.  Best wishes to your families.

  22. I wouldn’t mind at all (in fact, I might even appreciate it) if someone offered to pray for me in response to a hardship that I was experiencing. I myself sometimes meditate to a higher power in times of stress.

    However, if someone were to offer to pray for me out of what I consider to be sanctimony, then I would probably get offended (even if said individual’s intentions were entirely sound). For example, I once sat next to a woman on a plane who offered to pray for me once I revealed that I live with a man whom I am not married to. Thanks, but no thanks.tongue rolleye

  23. Thanks for all the thoughts and well wishes which I shall pass on to my wife. To clear it up a bit she has Indolent’ (non-agressive)Non-Hodgkins which is incurable.
    It doesn’t really do anything except sit there waiting to turn into “agressive” lymphoma. (It’s been five years now) As soon as it does, however, chances are better than even that will kill you.
    On the subject of prayer, do not pray for a miracle cure for as Jim Morrison of the Doors once said. “You cannot petition the LORD with prayer!” From the book God-101 (what the church doesn’t want you to know)
    Pray instead that the great strides they are making into the treatment of lymphoma produces
    1.A cure or
    2. Something to reduce it to just a chronic condition – before she becomes another victim, because to be perfectly honest I don’t now how I could make it without her.
    By the way for SEBS members, if you go to http://www.God-101.com and write me on the contact page I will send a free copy of the book to you, just don’t tell anyone else it’s free or I might have to send “The boys from New York” around to have a talk with you.

  24. Jeff: I’ve always been uncomfortable whenever I hear that somebody is praying for me.

    I live in a fairly secular (so far) society so if it’s happened to me, I sure don’t recall.
    I’d probably say, with distain, something like: Yeah. Whatever ya reckon, mate.
    There are all sorts of people on the planet I don’t like but I am forced to share my air with them because I’m not allowed to kill them as I’d go gaol which is something I probably wouldn’t enjoy.
    The other point being – if I spend time thinking of ‘them’, they win; that usually pulls me up and back to: Let it slide – To each his own – What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger – Fuck ‘em, or anything else that works. LOL

    LK: … my 13 yr old daughter has Hodgkins … If Mr. Death were around he’d probably attest I am an eternal optimist.

    I’d much rather a truthful optimist supporting to me than a folly of Fundies.  smile

  25. Let ‘em pray and be thankful they aren’t burning us at the stake.

    I always have to remind myself that they outnumber us dramatically.

  26. DoF: … there are no illegitimate children.

    I recall reading in the bible (Corinthians 1 or 2 I think it was) that a bastard shall not go to heaven … even to the tenth generation … or some such crap.
    But they still refer to him as a loving god.
    With friends (fiends) like that who needs enemies. LOL

    Moses: “You cannot petition the LORD with prayer!

  27. 1) I often get HUGE gaps (2-3 screens) esp after video links- assume its just AOL fucking up.

    2) HMMM- An argument of Athiest would be more accurate (Agree, or you prove me right).

    3) Prayer. Person gets better = Prayer works, Person doesnt get better = God had other plans.  Thats something L4T never answered.  Why should God change His mind. Why only some prayers.  If that was the correct out come why start with the original outcome before people prayed.

    4) Lets be gentle with L4T.  He seems a nice bloke, very genuine, not like some of the Trolls who pass through.

    5) see point 2-

    Agree, or you prove me right

    Have I just started my own religeon?

  28. LH: Lets be gentle with L4T.  He seems a nice bloke, very genuine, not like some of the Trolls who pass through.

    I agree. Say what you will about his reasoning and circular theology, but the guy still largely comes off as a sweetheart.

  29. Aw shucks…thanks guys. Y’all seem O.K. too once you get beyond the “smokin’ out the idiots” litmus test. I’ve read some of the name-calling, to-hell-with-logic, drive-by screamin’ fundie posts here, and can only shake my head, with increased understanding of your reluctance to even engage us Christians.
      Thanks though, for the compliment. You think I’m nice? You oughtta meet my Father (He you affectionately refer to as “Skydaddy!”
      Allow me to offer a reaction:
    “Sheesh, the guy may be nice, but he never gives up!”

  30. Aw shucks…thanks guys. Y’all seem O.K. too once you get beyond the “smokin’ out the idiots” litmus test. I’ve read some of the name-calling, to-hell-with-logic, drive-by screamin’ fundie posts here, and can only shake my head, with increased understanding of your reluctance to even engage us Christians.
      Thanks though, for the compliment. You think I’m nice? You oughtta meet my Father (He you affectionately refer to as “Skydaddy!”)
      Allow me to offer a reaction (you’ll have to provide the rolling eyes):
    “Sheesh, the guy may be nice, but he never gives up!”

  31. Les may be thinking right now:
    “Yeah O.K., fine. Now if I can just get L4T to be patient enough when hitting send to avoid double-posting!”

  32. This has nothing to do with the topic other than I think somebody was praying for me without me knowing it.
        I just walked across the street to where a woman was having a yard sale. She sold me 5 full sized comic book storage boxes (roughly 3 feet long for those not in the know)and a smaller 6th box all stuffed with near mint condition, boxed, and boarded comic books for $200.00.
        I immediately went online and started pricing some of them at a discount comic dealer and hit $288.00 with the first handfull. I haven’t even opened the 5 big boxes.
        I think she was mad at her husband and sold his collection out from under him or something. I can’t figure out why else she would have dumped what is probably going to be $1200.00 to $1500.00 worth of comics for only $200.00.
        Would somebody please come over and assist me in wiping up the drool pool forming on the floor? These are DC comics and I’m a Marvel guy, but I’m still giggling madly right now.

  33. You oughtta meet my Father

    The psychopath? The one who punishes people for what their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather did? The perfect being who designed my eye so that it isn’t as good as some lower lifeforms? We are talking about the same chap here?

    I’m with Oolan Caluphid on this one.

  34. Moses: So do you Sadie.

    Thank you. I wish you and your wife the best—you both are in my thoughts.

    L4T: You oughtta meet my Father.

    So many movie quotes to choose from, so little time…

  35. To borrow from George Carlin, it’s gotta be a guy – no woman would screw up that badly.

    If it were a guy, breasts would never be sore and periods just wouldn’t happen at all.


    Gotta be female spite. (A woman would inflict that on another with better hips.)  wink

  36. Gotta be female spite.

    You’ve got a point.

    A guy would have taken that Adam bloke outside for a good spanking and then all would have been forgiven. Leave it to the chicks to bear eternal grudges wink

  37. L4T, there’s something I’d like to add here that often gets overlooked.

    Besides being nicer that the average religious-type, it’s your degree of comprehension. The run of the mill religious type that comes here does…. okay. A couple things may bear repeating. A full-out fundie straight up doesn’t or won’t understand our positions.

    I don’t think you’ve circled around to the same point even once – you’ve asked for elaboration and then put and end to that line of reasoning, leaving it as something to consider. Something I felt you’d want to know, as it’s an important distinction between you and other passers-by, here.

  38. Thanks Arc. You’re just being nice to soothe the Carolina loss to the Oilers (don’t think I didn’t see that Canuck flag!) wink
    The more definitions of “fundie” I see, the less I want to define myself as such. Believer? Yes. Six-consecutive 24 hour day creation, young Earth type of fundie? I don’t think so.
      Any of y’all ever read “The Fingerprint of God” by Hugh Ross? His book is probably influencing my Christian perspective more than anything these days. He basically asserts the value of refusing to let Faith and science become antagonists. I guess I believe that, if the Bible is true, it should, and will, jive with objective reality in time.

  39. In case it’s not obvious, I won’t be joining the L4T adoration club, no matter how nice or well-spoken a chap he may or may not be.

    In his own words, he comes here for two reasons.

    First, to challenge his faith. One can read this as a backhanded compliment or being subtly dissed, but in either case I find this mildly offensive. It’s a bit like being used as a marital aid…

    Second, he’s here to witness/evangelize/proselytize. This I find more than mildly offensive. Sure, to bag hardcore atheists for the glory of Skydaddy you have catch them where they live, but it’s the same thing as a travelling salesman ringing the bell despite a big fucking “No Soliciting” sign.

    Note the difference between ***Dave and L4T. There’s nothing wrong with commenting from a Christian perspective, as opposed to an extended sales pitch.

  40. I always hate to hear about people who are ill and suffering—it is a shame that ‘God’ apparently doesn’t feel the same way.

    I’m also angered by fundie friends in the healing professions who tell me that illness, disease, and death are the result of sinfulness—either the person’s specific sinfulness or that of society, their parents, or the world in general. 

    As far as ‘God’s’ attentiveness to people’s prayers for the ill, I’d point out that there’s good randomized, controlled, double-blind studies on the efficacy of intercessory prayer with cardiac patients (among others). It demonstrates that prayer makes no significant difference in outcome for the patient.

    The prayer may make the pray-er feel better—it always feels better to do something rather than nothing when others are hurting—but it makes no difference to the outcome whatsoever.

  41. I understand the motive of intercessory prayer.  When I see children playing near the street, college students who are obviously having problems, I wish I could pray to some omnipotent, omnibenevolent, being to send an invisible protector for them.  But ain’t no such.  The best we humans can do is look out for each other to the extent that respecting the others’ autonomy allows.

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